The sun never sets on the British Empire of Weed. The United Kingdom is now the world’s largest producer exporter of legal medical and scientific cannabis, as per a report composed by the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board.
44.9% of legal cannabis produced in 2016 was grown in the UK, totalling at 95 tons (or tonnes, if ye prefer). The same year, the Brits were responsible for 67.7% of all exported weed in the globe.
A couple of other nations came close, but interestingly not the U.S., where legal cannabis makes the news with new laws and legalizations, but apparently Americans are more into legislating marijuana than they are in growing it, and they’re certainly not going to be exporting it anytime soon with current federal laws. Canada, whose legal cannabis program is set to go live this August, came in as the first runner up in dank cultivation, producing 80.7 tons of the stuff in 2016. The Netherlands took second place for legal weed exports with 16.4% of the market share.
Britain’s status as the global leader in legal cannabis exports is somewhat ironic given that it’s pretty hard to actually acquire legal weed within the Isles. According to The Independent, the UK black market is plagued with skunk weed and medical marijuana patients are at a loss when it comes to getting their stuff through legitimate means.
Drug policy reform group Transform has pointed out the discrepancy between the UK’s attitudes towards cannabis export and toward the use of cannabis by Britains. The UK government has “consistently refused to allow medical cannabis in the UK on the basis that it has ‘no therapeutic value,'” said Transform senior policy analyst Steve Rolles.
“It is scandalous and untenable for the UK government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world’s biggest government-approved medical cannabis production and export market,” he continued. “UK patients are either denied access and suffering unnecessarily, or are forced to buy cannabis from the criminal market. Countries with proper access to medical cannabis do not have this problem, as standardised cannabis products are in the hands of doctors and pharmacists.”
Photo via Flickr user Cannabis Reports